Selle San Marco is positioned as the more relaxed, wallet-friendly sister brand to race-focused Selle Italia. The Ground saddle is an update to its well-received GND off-road perch, now wider and shorter. It retains a distinctive rear lip to help give it an edge against the best mountain bike saddles when climbing, but the very soft cushioning may be too soft for some riders.
Design and aesthetics
Selle San Marco’s Ground saddle looks relatively chunky and recreational, with deep cushioning and a fairly wide 140mm fit, even in ‘narrow’. It has a distinctive upward flare to the back of the saddle, and a wide cutout - 50mm wide at the rearmost cushioned end, going to around 35mm wide at the start of the fully-cutout area. (This compares with 30mm wide at the widest point on the Selle Italia X-LR).
The design is simple - plain even - with a matt black skin and some discreet logos and decoration picked out in contrasting glossy black. The rear flare and flat width-ways profile shout ‘comfort’.
The Ground Dynamic sits on manganese rails, for a little weight saving over steel, and its glass-fiber reinforced undershell is designed to be durable and supportive. The foam cushioning inside has a low density, meaning that it’s pretty soft and compresses easily. Selle San Marco says the softness and variable thickness of the foam follows the movement of the pelvis when pedaling.
The Dynamic saddle tested here sits in the middle of the Ground range, the Sport models sits below with steel rails, a claimed 350g and $53.99 / £45 price, and the Carbon-railed Carbon FX model above, at a claimed 215g and costs $148 / £145.
Two main things stand out about the Ground: the soft cushioning and the upward curve at the back - there’s also a noticeably grippy cover, which you may love or hate.
The upward curve at the back, the soft cushioning and perhaps the extra-wide 50mm cutaway section in the middle, all combine to give the agreeable sensation of sitting slightly in the saddle rather than on it. Not enough to distract you with a wallowy feeling, rather a comfortable security.
The upward curve at the back gives noticeable support on steeper seated climbs. It’s certainly no bad thing, and it’s a pleasant thing, but I still can’t decide whether it’s an important thing; it’s not something I’d thought of as a problem before. One minor trade-off is that you can’t slip off the back of the saddle quite so smoothly on descents.
A bigger issue for me was feeling the edge of the plastic base of the saddle through the central cutout when leaning forwards. That seemed due to a combination of the soft cushioning bottoming out, a relatively pronounced plastic lip around the cutout, and maybe the relatively wide cutout for my size. It’s possible the saddle was just too wide for me - Selle San Marco’s narrow is actually 140mm, vs 131mm for its sister brand Selle Italia. I dealt with it by tilting the nose of the saddle down by a couple of degrees, but that wasn’t a long-term solution, as it made things too sloped, especially at the back.
I’m not sure about the short length either. On a time-trial bike, a super snubbed-nose lets riders get into a deeper aero tuck without pressure, but that’s obviously not the point here. I needed to position the saddle all the way back to avoid feeling like I was sitting on the sloped section at the back of the saddle, which meant I noticed the lack of saddle to rest against my legs when out of the saddle on descents. Definitely not a deal-breaker though, and something you get used to quickly enough.
The Ground Dynamic ultimately didn’t suit me, but everyone is different and, if the center cutout fits you, you might easily find it a relaxed, fit-and-forget option. Certainly one of our female testers had fewer problems with it on her cyclocross bike, even over multi-hour rides (she noticed the edges of the cutout, but not as a significant discomfort).
I wanted to like the Ground Dynamic more - I certainly enjoyed the feeling of sitting ‘in’ the saddle, and appreciated the extra little push of support from the scooped lip at the back when climbing got steep.
Tech Specs: Selle San Marco Ground Dynamic saddle
- Price: $89.99 / £75.00
- Weight: 271g (narrow, as tested)
- Colors: Black
- Sizes: 255mm x 140mm (narrow, as tested), 255mm x 155m (wide)
- Key materials: Manganese rails, ‘Silkfeel Plus’ synthetic cover, glass fibre reinforced shell, Pullfoam cushioning